The Story of Bruce and Andrea's Dead Presidents Day Vacation.

[Note minor corrections added 060201,060507.]

	What can I say?  I have a habit of not starting these things
out on the right foot.  My winds trip #1 started with the flu.  My
Never Summer trip started with only about two hours sleep in two days.
And so it went with Shasta...
	The night before Shasta began, I went to bed in WY at 4:30 or
so.  A wrong number woke me at 7:00AM.  I arrived at SFO at 4 PM,
Berkeley at 5:30.  Only at 8 PM, after an incredibly slow REI stop,
did we hit the highway.  Because of a disappointing lack of cars, just
Andrea (an Italian male) and myself made up the "team".  We stopped
for a long chow at a Sizzler, and thank god, an espresso at the last
outlying shopping center of the bay area, I think the Nut Tree.  Then
after a drive that wasn't as bad as I thought, we wandered through the
extra-poorly marked Shasta City looking for the ranger station at 2
AM.  When we got there to sign into our route, we were happy and
excited to find that no one was on our route - Seargent's ridge.
Everyone else was on Green butte or Casseval ridge.  Out of town we
hit a wall of fog, drove through up to the parking lot and hit the
sack at 3:30 or 4 AM.


	We woke saturday to a gorgeous, once-in a lifetime sunny
winter day.  After Andrea made oatmeal, he realized the whisperlite he
borrowed wasn't working well, so we decided to leave it.  Leave your
fuel bottle too, I said, "I have a liter; that's plenty for the
weekend."  But he wanted to bring more, despite my objections.  [But
just wait to see where that got us, O reader.  If we only knew
THEN...]  After packing food, and me farting around with my spiffy new
Simond Scorpion crampons, Saturday's alpine start was at 12:30.
Alpine time to start heading home, that is...  We headed along the
snowed-in road to an old ski area in Panther Meadow.  Some old-timers
skiing there told us that the majority of the cleared area we saw
-tens of football fields in area- was not a was trees just
before an avalanche a couple weeks ago.  From there we headed up
Seargent's ridge in our snow shoes.  On the way up, at perhaps 9,000
feet, we heard snowmobiles.  These were followed by "Dan's Crazy ski
Hut" or some such named snow cat festooned with snowboards.  Ugh.
Some solitude of the mountains.  The worst is when the snowmobiles go
by you and you breathe their exhaust, particularly unpleasant at

	By about 2 PM we were at not quite 10,000 feet.
Unfortunately, the wind just got stronger and stronger from there.  We
saw snow blowing off the high ridges, and I tried to convice Andrea
that it was time to bail.  He was much tougher than I, but when we
both started to get blown off our feet every now and again, even he
agreed it was not to be on this day on this route.  We saw other
climbers on the other routes, and thought that we should try for those
routes instead.  These guys must know something we don't - it's
probably common knowledge that Seargent's is undoable at this time of
year due to the wind.  That must be why no one else was on it.  But
did anyone in the parking lot mention it?  NOOOOOO.
	We walked off the ridge and down a bit, only to catch wind
everywhere we went.  Eventually we decided that the bowl above a
curve in Green Butte was avalanche free and slightly wind shielded,
and so we stopped there for the night.  This was disappointing, as it
was only at about 9,000 feet.  The snow was just right, so Andrea
showed me how to cut snow blocks.  According to offical Klavetter
mountaineering theory, no tent is really windproof, so in any serious
conditions, a snow wall has to be built.  That is especially true of
the official Klavetter Tent, the sphinx, which I have.  The front
resembles a spinnaker sail more than any tent.  Andrea and I really
got into making the blocks, competing for size and even style, and we
soon had a wall 5 feet high.  That was almost enough to shield the
tent's 5.5' height, but not quite enough.  As soon as we let go of it,
the wind picked it up, ripping out my non-snow steaks.  We reversed
the tent, so the view was not so good, but so that the front was away
from the wind, and it seemed OK.  The tent flapped a lot in the gusts,
making a lot of noise, but we did OK.  The two of us were absolutely
BEAT, tired, and exhausted.  But we had hardly begun to climb !!!  We
grunted with pleasure and exhaustion as we wolfed down our macaroni
and cheese, and marveled at the gorgeous sunset.

	"Grunt.  FOOD.  Grunt FOOD ....GOOD"
	"Ya.  Grunt.  GOOD....FOOOD....GRUNT"
	grunt.....OOOOH.....WAIT....SUN!!!  GRUNT....  FOOD, .....NO!
Pictures....WAIT!, GRUNT.....MUST HAVE FOOD.  Grunt...slurp.  NO!
	...You get the idea.  Once again, the stars on Shasta were
beyond spectacular.  I observe the night sky professionally, and I am often at
WIRO, a remote site in wyoming, at Kitt Peak in AZ, and other
professional oservatories.  But these spots, chosen primarily for
their seeing (stability of atmosphere) and weather, are not nearly as
DARK as Shasta.  The only real town within the horizon is Reading,
maybe a hundred miles south.  The stars simply BLAZED here.


	Saturday we moved over into Avalanche Gulch, hoping to camp as
high as possible to get a head start on next days climb.  At 11,000
feet, we were looking up at an obvious avalanche slope beneath rock
cliffs, the top of The Red banks.  The snow was littered with debris,
albeit mostly small.  Most of the time you could hear little bits of
ice and little pebbles coming down.  It was painful, but we gave up
1,000 feet to be at Lake Helen, 10,400, pretty well protected from
avalanche and debris.  We got the campsite of a bunch of skiers who
had erected a large wall and a sunken platform.  We spent about an
hour improving and increasing the height of the wall, then put up the
tent.  While we were busy doing so, two teenage girls came over the
rise.  Each were wearing jeans and T-shirt, one with about six
necklaces and the other with elaborate earrings.  One then pulled a
soda out of her pack, the other began -I'm not kidding- brushing her
	The rest of the afternoon, we ran up to the top of the ridge
and I took pictures.  I think we had some great poses, climbing a bit
up the rocky ridge top and taking pictures that made us look like we
had brutal exposure.  One thing that I had noticed about pictures:
When you use your spot meter on a person, the exposure should become
longer, because the person is darker than the snow, which usually
dominates the scene.  Here, the exposure became shorter (!).  The only
theory I have is that the sky was really darker up here, so when you
aim at a person's face above the snow, you become dominated by the
nearby sky, which is dark.  Not a very satisfying explanation, but
that's all I can think of.  The sky was darker than usual, but it
didn't seem THAT dark.  I noticed that my battery indicator said half
empty when I had my camera in the wind or shadow a lot; this is just
the effect of cold on a battery.  At one point during the trip it did
go all the way to empty, but it was not there while I took the
pictures.  I wished I had purchased a gradient filter, so I could put
the dark side on the snow, but I forgot to get one.  Oh well, next
 	On the way down, I suggested that Andrea practice ice arrests.
The good natured gullible twit that he is, he went right at it, as
soon as he had me carry his (what felt like) lead-lined camera.  He really
did go for it all, front, back, and even upside down and backwards
falls.  I was disappointed in his performance though, as he only got a
bit of snow up his butt.  I told him to practice until he could hold a
party of six, and he scoffed at me.  It was then that I recounted the
famous tale of the first k2 American Expedition.  Someone slipped
above THE DEATH CHIMNEY, and the whole party, which I think included
one dead body which was being lowered at that point, began to slide
down the mountain.  Some guy finally got his pick into the snow, and
held all 6 of the roped climbers, while they dangled over the edge,
until they sorted themselves all out.  As the story goes on from
there, I think, one of them was sufficiently injured that they had to
anchor him and come back later, but to save the party from the dangers
of evacuating him, he cut his own rope.  Andrea was suitably
impressed, and so kept practicing for a while longer while I busily
raided the fig newtons back at camp.  
	At sundown, we made a pot of soup, and then the stove quit.
Puzzled, Andrea asked me what was up with my stove.  After a few more
flameouts, I realized the bottle was empty.  I didn't really think
much of this.  I know we were being lame about conserving fuel, and
heck, maybe I was wrong about how much fuel one typically uses...but
we had plenty, so why worry? Andrea then went and changed the fuel
bottle, and before I know it, the same thing happened again!  The
stove quit, and THE SECOND FUEL BOTTLE FELT EMPTY !!!!  I looked over
the bottle, and I thought the connection looked wrong, and maybe the
retaining clip was on wrong.  In fact, the connector was not seated,
and fuel was probably leaking there, causing the rapid fuel drain.
But what to do now?  No fuel meant NO WATER !!!!


	I did my best to remain calm and think.  In the book "Minus
147", the story of the first winter attempt at Denali, the Japanese
guy (Hiroshi?) saved the expedition by calmly, cooly looking for fuel,
despite howling winds, bitter cold, and danger of being swept off the
mountain, looking in the various garbage piles left by other
expeditions, until he was successful.  He looked just where the others
looked, but they came up empty-handed.  When he returned to the snow
cave with his prize, he calmly explained that expedition climbing
takes a cool head, and sound reasoning, not just the physical
endurance.  Following this famous inspiration, I tried to think cooly
about our situation and my stove.  I thought that once we asembled the
thing correctly, if we had just a few drops of fuel, that would
probably be enough.  The little stoves are really very efficient: even
a few drops of fuel should melt at least one pot of snow.  Assuming
there might be a few drops left, the stove still might not start
despit the fuel: when a fuel tank is nearly empty, the mechanical
problem of how to get the last drops out of the tank and into the
stove pump is the fly in the ramen.  In an MSR, there is a little hose
that is aimed at the bottom of the tank, a couple inches from the
valve end.  If the tank is not exactly level, the fuel will pool at
one end of the tank, not where the hose is.  I got our smaller bottle,
and poured the remainin drop or two from the other tank into it, so
the fuel level would be a bit higher than in a bigger tank.  I then
carefully assembled the stove.  We got it lit again, then i gingerly
rocked the stove about the point I thought was level. Amazingly, this
worked !!!  I sat there for about 20 min, back killing me, on the
snow, not moving except for my careful rocking, and freezing my nards
off due to the inactivity and circulatory constriction.  Once I quit
rocking for about 10 sec. and the stove went out.  After this
uncomfortable vigil, we had melted 2 liters of snow. Yay !!!!! We were
saved!!!  Intellect conquered the cruel vagaries of fate.  Eastern
Powers of Mind proved as mighty as the cruel winter (and the stupidity
of us trying to use the stove).

	"Uh, Bruce...this water smells funny."
	No, we weren't saved; no, Mind didn't conquer, we were F_____,
and Mind was operating in stupid high-altitude mode.  In our haste and
desperation, we had thrown snow from around the stove, covered with
our fuel, into the pot.  In the process we had poisoned all our melted
snow, and contaminated one of our water bottles.  We went to bed with
2/3 liter in Andreas' bottle and 0.5 liter in mine. -Things looked
grim !  We were determined though, and decided we would try to melt
snow in our waterbottles by sunlight as we walked the next day.  If it
didn't work, well, we could always eat snow...
	No wind that night.  Our fears were unfounded.


	Incredibly, we woke only about 20 minutes after my 6 AM alarm.
Without any water to cook breakfast, there was nothing to do but get
up and leave.  Doing absolutely nothing but putting on our boots and
leaving, no packing up tent, nothin', we took AN HOUR !  (Where DID
that time go? Well, it is true that I climbed the first 50 feet three
times, as I remembered extra pieces of underwear I slept in but didn't
want to climb in, but that only took about 10 minutes all told).  I
had nothing more than a sip to drink, trying to ration a bit for the
day ahead.  My plan was to eat all the snow I could.

	By now the sun was in full rise, and already it was getting
warm.  We quickly reached the ridge and were thankful that it was
mostly in shade.  Some guys had camped near the top of the ridge, and
boy were they lucky.  The previous night, they would have been pounded
by the wind, had there been any.  They were, however, right under a
rock and ice wall, and already pieces of it were beginning to rain
down.  Hope they did OK...Besides these daredevils, we were the only
people on the route; I was to see no others all day.

	In about an hour of moderate climbing we were at 11,000'.  The
route wound its way up near the top of the ridge, but it meandered
enough to avoid the rock "dragon fins" at the crest of the ridge that it
kept us interested.  The apparent top of the ridge was really
spectacular.  There were multiple headwalls, and huge looking bulges,
all with thick coatings of rime ice.  Up above, we were to leave the
friendly, gorgeous world of dark rock against the snow.  Up there, we
were immersed in the winter, the less bright styrofoam-white of
hoarfrost and rime. 

	We gained altitude pretty fast.  We seemed to reach a lip of
some kind, and then.... Andreas poked his head over the lip and said,
"If you think its going to be flat up here, forget it !"  What I saw
was ...simply ANOTHER MOUNTAIN !  It looked like we were in the parking
lot at the base of a full-sized mountain, not yet started.  Oh well,
what else did I have planned for the day?  The lip, although nearly
vertical at the top, had large boot holes in it.  I groaned as Andrea
used the front of his pick, while such terrain really called for just
a Piolet Manche, - what can you do?  Actually, Andrea
showed no sign of anything but total comfort on his crampons, even
though this was his first time on them.  I tripped on my points a
couple times, but I never saw him trip.

	By now the going was getting to be a pretty steep snow climb on
the upper reaches of the bowl to the left of Avalanch.  I kept trying
to eat snow as often as I could.  As it was hot as heck up there,
especially any time the wind ceased, this was no problem in terms of
making me cold !  However, it seemed like just enough of a peice of
snow to impede my breathing yielded only a drop of water, not exactly
the slake of my thirst that I longed for.  The snow was pretty good.
I kept saying, "It's never been this hot!", but I think the "in" joke
was lost on my partner.  The rock formations on the ridge were really
impressive.  Giant fins protruded from the ridge's spine with just
enough ice on them for that "alpine" look.  Many volcanoes are boring
round affairs, like Fuji or the mexican volcanoes.  Not this one.  The
complexity of the scenery and formations never disappointed.


	It was only very late in the climb that I felt like I got a
rhythm going.  I became really absorbed in the next place to put my
feet.  My breath.  Keeping my exertion smooth.  I consciously chose a
pace I could keep all day.  I thought, we got up early, we deserve to
take this pretty casually.  Then I thought about my footsteps.  Then I
thought about my crampons.  Then I thought about how I would describe
the snow.  How I would describe the route.  How I would write an
article about my "waterless ascent" for a major climbing magazine, and
become rich and famous.  I thought about alternate routes.  I thought
about equiptment for those routes, crampon and tool systems...I
thought about the meditative aspects of climbing.  How I might write
articles on your thoughts while climbing.  How you feel only the
eternal now, how everything seems to disappear how....  Mystics speak
of "turning off the internal dialogue" during meditation: ***Here I
was, having a goddam 12 person chatter session, all by myself!*** What
I was making out of the mountain's peaceful solitude was a veritable
"internal cacaphony"!  I really did try to quiet my inner self, but to
no avail. Oh well, I guess it had been just too long since I had tried
to meditate...obviously too long since I had re-read any Carlos


	When you reach the true top of the red banks, 12,900', things
get a bit flat.  You follow a ridge back in toward the summit, and
see...once again, a height equal to parking lot to summit on a typical
mountain.  ANOTHER MOUNTAIN to climb, goddamit !  Oh well, I didn`t
have a date that night, so...on I went.

	Of course the really important thing about climbing mountains
(well, besides bragging about it to your friends in the bar, or over
email) is what gear you get to play with.  Now my parents had bought
me a spiffy altimeter watch.  The spiffy thing only went to 10,000
feet, but I was smarter than IT was...or so I thought.  I set the zero
of the altimeter to be the 7000' parking lot, so it wouldn't go off
scale.  This worked fine until we got up above 12,000.  At that point,
my altimeter read, "OS", which means "Off Scale".  It should only read
5,000 though ! Puzzled, I checked my barometer, and it said "OS" as
well - the last time I checked, it said 600 mb, so what happened was
the ABSOLUTE pressure required to operate the diaphragm was more
than 600 way to fool the watch.  The same thing happened to
Andrea's watch, supposedly rated to 14,000 feet !  Curse the evil
person who walked off with my good ol' ugly yellow-buttoned older
model Casio (and went to 16,000 feet).  

	We climbed moderately for a little while until the RIDGE
STARTED GOING ***DOWN*** !!! We lost several hundred feet going down to the
mumble mumble galcier, and were disgusted.  But this is nothing.
NOTHING.  Nothing compared to MISERY HILL. In front of us is around
800 feet of absolutely unrelenting 45 degree snow.  At about 13,000
feet.  We are demoralized and numb just looking at the thing.  We walk
across the glacier, never once thinking of skirting the possible
crevasse danger, for it would mean a whole 50 more yards, in the face
	I begin climbing.  The snow begins to sink.  I try to keep my
self going.  All I do is stop to rest for longer and longer.  The snow
gets worse, I sink in more.  I am psychologically destroyed.  Why did
they name this thing like that?  Couldn't they have given us a LITTLE
help here?  I demand that I make twenty paces before each rest.  I do.
I try to cheat myself, and only count the big steps.  I keep going.
Meanwhile, the "Duke of the Abruzzi" is flying ahead of me.  I'm
supposed to be the studly experienced one, the technical climber, and
he's zipping on ahead.
	"Well shit, I'm fat and old",I think, "and just wait 'til he
gets to be MY age!"
	After an eternity, we're up.  We just walk across a snowfield,
then up a 400 foot slope.  The slope is a jumbled combination of
crusty rime, and we break through a fair amount.  Nonetheless, we are
up on top in minutes.  Andrea waits for me at the lip.  He insists
that I go first past the summit register/marker, on to the highest
summit.  I insist that he lead for most of the climb, so he should go
first.  He refuses, so we both squeeze onto the narrow summit at
precisely the same time.
	The wind whips pretty good up here, but of course we have to
stay long enough to get lots of pictures, including the obligatory
"eating the summit cookies" picture.  My newer, fancier, larger REI
"Ultrapod" does an absolutely terrible job attaching to the top of my
ice tool, whereas the dinky, cheaper one I left at home always did
just fine.  I put us in the summit register as a "waterless ascent",
and state that I upheld honor, because I resisted the use of my pick
on a non-technical climb.  I say I did it for "Yvonne".  Andreas asks
me who Yvonne Chouinard is, and what book am I talking about.  I yell
at him a bit for blaspheming in a holy place, but I tell him I will
forgive him his trespasses if he will promise to recite the line from
"Climbing Ice" about Chouinard's avalanch experience ["my sphincter
contracted like a poodle's when it sees a bulldog"], every morning 100
times.  There is no one in the register for today, but tons of people
yesterday. There is no one on the way up.  We are alone in our
triumph, and spend a good while on the summit.  I see two
volcano-looking mountains, one apparently north.  Lassen, I reason, is
shouth, maybe a bit east, but what could be the other one, and how
could it be north?  I check with Andrea about this, and we have a long
argument about how to tell which way is north from the location of the
sun, even though we are both physicists, and should know this.
Symptoms of oxygen deprivation? US?  Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.....

	"We got here at 12:30; we made pretty good timing, we're not
such bad climbers." says Andrea.

	"Remember, we have to get DOWN.  Most accidents occur on
decent.  Take that seriously.  We need to be careful."  It was
probably about 1:15 when we left.


	After the rest on top, I felt fine.  We walked back down the
final slope in the now even more break-through crusty horrible snow,
and went by the sulphurous spewing springs.  I didn't really want to
add any time onto my climb, eager to get back to the nearest
restaurant and pitchers of water, milk, beer, milkshakes, iced tea,
coke, root beer, oJ, AJ, get the idea, but as this was a CHAOS
trip, checking out anything hot, liquid, and large enough to insert
your body, was obligatory.  There was a yucky muddy puddle with lots of
smelly sulphur coming out.  "OK, been there, done that", I thought, "
let's get to that free-refill beverage bar I'm dreaming of. "

	We went back across the snow field, the small walk across the
glacier, up misery hill, and across the shoulder to the lip.  I really
had time to get a good look at things.  I was really awed by what I
saw.  Inspiration, erudition, and particularly eloquence welled up
inside me. "Fuckin-A: this place is fuckin' beautiful!", I exposited
to Andrea, and the mountain.  

	As we walked, we could see our ridge, and one or two to the
left, a shoulder below us jutting straight out of the mountain, then
curling back like a scythe.  To the right of the shoulder was an
enormous outward curving slope, which was intersected by two glacial
valleys below.  The AMOUNT of terrain was absolutely incomprehensible.
Between each and every feature described above was a sloping bowl
larger than any ski area I have ever been to, Squaw or Heavenly
included.  The enormity of this mountain is unparalleled.  I have been
to the Tetons, and looked down at the glaciers from Middle Teton, but
each individual mountain was nothing like this. Gorgeous rocky cliffs
topped every ridge, beatiful brown and red colored rock.  I just kept
yelling at the top of my lungs, "What a gorgeous mountain !  I can't
believe it..." meaning I couldn't beleive we weren't someplace
"famous", like the Alps or Nepal.  And we had it all to ourselves.  I
saw not a single hiker above our camp the whole day.

	Andrea had some trouble with his feet. Rather than some scary
frostbite problem, it was just some incompatibility of foot and boot.
"It's not too bad", he said, "it only hurts when I descend or
traverse."  Well, seeing as how we had about 7000 feet of just that
left, and maybe 150 feet of ascent, I had to give him credit for being
an optomist...

	The snow got slushy.  It got wet.  It got yucky.  When it was
flat, you'd sink right in deep. When it was steep, it would be slushy
on top, but harder underneath so if you'd slip you'd go flying.  We
crossed one slope where I began to wonder if we wouldn't have a slide.
Not an avalanche, only a slide of about an inch or two in depth, just
enough to give us an exciting 3000' ride in a hurry.  The snow slushy
enough that your ice ixe would come out if you blew on it.  My
crampons were balling with snow terribly, sometimes the ball would be
as thick as my boot.  This was a bummer, because I had just bought
these new wimpy crampons because of the "balling" problem with my ice
climbing crampons (litefangs).

	We got to camp.  I felt like death just before misery hill,
but now I felt fine.  Andrea definitely looked tired.  He layed down
for a while, and I tried to melt snow with solar power.
Unfortunately, I didnt't start this until, it seemed, the moment it
began to relent from the torturous sun and heat of the day. I put my
black sweater on top of my pack in a kind of amphitheatre shape.  I
put a couple of water bottles filled with snow in it.  I got my black
plastic tarp from under my tent, put snow in it, and folded it over.
In about 30 min, when it seemed to be getting cold, There was no water
at all in the tarp (supposedly a favorite expedition trick to save
fuel), there was a bit in my smoke colored Nalge bottle, maybe a
little in the white bottles.  Meanwhile, when we arrived, it was
probably 95F in my tent - if I had just started a bit earlier, and
just stuck the bottles in the tent...

	Andrea got up and off we went.  I was thinking about
glissading, and even tried it a little, when it all came back to me.
Last year, same place, time of day, but no summit.  Last year's
aborted climb really turned out to be a showpiece of stupidity on top
of stupidity, and turned out pretty badly for a few of my friends.


	We were descending in the late afternoon (just like today).
Care-free, "it's all downhill from here", we began to glissade down.
However, we found that as soon as you picked up speed, your body would
find an unbeleivably hard peice of ice hiding in the slush.  We all
got variously beat up a bit, but his was just the beginning of our
unexpected problems.

	There was a sierra club cabin somewhere down there, where we
stayed the night before (I think in avalanch gulch, but I'm not sure
on which side of Green Butte).  It was not marked on the map.  We
descended toward it, but could not see it for the trees.  Well, we
thought, we'll just follow the ski trails back to the cabin, then from
there, there'll be millions of tracks going right back to the parking
lot.  No worries!

	I think we actually found the cabin, and then set off in the
dark.  we tried to follow ski tracks, but every one went in a
different direction.  We followed an obvious shallow ravine, but found
nothing.  We wasted more time following ski tracks, and they abruptly
stopped.  (X-C skiers probably went down, whee!!!! whee!!!, then found
they were lost in the forest, Oh, shit., then they turned around, back
in the same tracks they made on the way DOWN and went UP.  They
probably repeated this late into the afternoon until they found
someone who could tell them where the parking lot was.  This is why we
found so many dead end tracks).  Not one of us had a lithium
flashlight battery.  I normally keep my regular batteries warm under
my balaclava, but I was too warm cayrrying all my gear to put on my
balaclava, and too care-free (read stoopid), and the batt.s just got
cold and stopped working.  Everything else bad and imaginable began to
happen. One person didn't have a headlamp, and was carrying his
flashlight in his mouth.  He somehow tripped, and got a flashlight
rammed up his mouth; ouch!  Several people fell into spruce traps, got
hit and scratched by branches, etc.  One of the guys who fell into the
snow had no gaitors.  He complained about continuously mounting pain
and cold in his feet.  He was definitely getting early symptoms of
frostbite.  We gave up criss-crossing ski tracks, and tried to follow
a ridge.  The map said the parking lot was at the end of the ridge.
The ridge ended and we saw nothing - no ski tracks, nothing.  We
wandereed for hours util we found the *&^%(^%&%*$ parking lot.  It
took us perhaps 2 or 3 hours to get from the cabin, a 20 minute walk
in !!!  (The guy without gators, I swear, had compacted so much snow
into his boot, none of us could beleive there was enough room in his
boot for his feet. )


	Everything was happening exactly the same this time.  We saw
one snow-shoer.  We started to follow him, then he got quickly out of
sight.  What if he was going to the cabin, and was going to stay over
night?  WHat if he couldn't find the way out at night either?  Then we
would be back, to the exact same spot as last year.  Andrea wanted to
follow ski tracks.  I was sure we would end up just like last year.  I
despareately whined to Andrea.  I had to make him understand: I wanted
to do SOMETHING different, but nothing different was available: We
could see the road, probably the parking lot, but there was nothing to
do but go into the trees where nothing could be seen any more. How
frustrating, how stupid, to conquer 14,000 foot mountains, and be
thwarted a kilometer from the parking lot !!!

	As it turned out, we followed ski tracks for a while, had some
trouble with them, and then we decided to go up on top of the ridge,
now the beginning of green butte ridge.  What could I say? We didn't
do this last year.  There was nothing to say that we wouldn't "cliff
out", in the dark high on top of the ridge; we were walking on a part
of the route that we hadn't used before, and that wasn't the obvious
start of the climb, but....  It turned out to be a superhighway with
millions of prints in it.  We followed it, and saw the parking lot
just a few hundred yards over to the left.  It then became obvious
what the problem had been in the previous year: The parking lot in
winter wasn't where the ridge was where the SNOW, EACH
YEAR, EACH WEEK, ended.  And/or where they decided to plow to.  Last
year, the parking lot was way to the right, and so couldn't be found
near the ridge.

	Moral of the story: HAVE A DECENT IN THE DARK PLAN.  HAVE
THREE IF IT`S IN THE TREES, one for each map stupidity contingency!
Best of all, talk to someone who's done it in the dark. 

	We went into town.  Last year, the guy that drove me knew a
great little out-of the way coffee shop.  This time, we asked locals
for a reccomendation, and ended up in a bizarre german Hofbrau place
for tourists who like early bad taste gaudy lights kind of decor.  I
apprehended fairly 
quickly that they were having problems, as no one in the restaurant
had food on their plate.  We blew 30-45  minutes trying to track down
another place to eat, which did not make us happy because WE STILL
HADN't HAD ANYTHING TO DRINK, and it was ~9:00 and we had to eat and
drive home !!!   

	We went 5 PM Sunday night to 9:30 PM Monday night with no more
than 2/3 litres liquid each (.5 for me), 29.5 hours.  The moral here
is 1) you have to keep track of fuel consumption, this is a good
diagnostic of trouble.  2) Tell everyone this story who uses your
stove to scare them into being careful about spilled fuel/messing up
the fuel connector.  3)Always bring 2 independent fuel bottles.  It
almost saved us... 4) ALWAYS get snow to melt AWAY from where you're

	After a few exciting truck stops, BUT WITHOUT ESPRESSO, 
and with considerable speeding, we made it home at around 3:00 I

	Shasta is the most underrated mountain I have ever been on.
It's gorgeous, it's exciting, it's a good workout.  You could easliy
spend a couple weeks there linking all kinds of traverses - I bet that
scythe-shaped shoulder would be really cool!  And if Tuan, or any
equally nutty person is reading, there is a cliff side of the summit,
that was horrible rime ice.  If you'd lead 400 feet of Verglaz, (but
with a lot of texture and stemming I think), you might talk me into
	But if you take my advice and give Shasta a shot, take care.
Forget that "easy, forgiving, warm" winter sierra weather "image".
Shasta is a SERIOUS, potentially terrible mountain. My friend Dan lost
friends in an avalanche there.  Just be cautious and have a great